A company that used to have a contract with Florida to provide monitoring services for its parolees just lost its bid to re-up on its contract. They were underbid by BI, Inc., a company that the GEO Group purchased about a month ago. BI undercut the company's proposal by nearly 50% per monitoring device, which could be reflect the fact that BI's system has major operational problems that resulted in an 11-hour blackout just a few months ago in a different jurisdiction.
Regardless, the whole contract procurement process reeks of corruption and Pro Tech, the company that was underbid by BI, has filed a complaint. BI released a statement saying "This was an open and proper procurement process. … We are confident in our proposal and our ability to provide quality GPS tracking services at a competitive price."
I'm calling BS on this. BI got this contract because of the GEO Group's long and deep-rooted relationship with Florida politics. The GEO Group is based in Boca Raton, and has not only sent industry leaders to government positions; it also donates heavily to state legislators. Their influence was quite obvious in last year's last-second attempt to force the state to populate a GEO prison that was built on speculative information in the first place. This is simply another exmample of the types of political favors the private prison industry enjoys as a result of its powerful lobbying work.
To make it very clear: the GEO Group contributed $25,000 to the governor's campaign last year. Pro Tech has only contributed a little over $7,000 to all Floridian legislators and candidates since 2002. That right there is the deciding factor in who won, and who lost, this contract.
UPDATE: Turns out this isn't the only shady business practice employed by a GEO subsidiary. BI, Inc. is being sued for patent infringement by another private monitoring company whose technology they stole. I'm thinking more and more that GEO's acquisition of BI makes perfect sense